Firehouse upgrades your fire chief will say 'no' to
So, what did I miss? Leave your elite upgrades in the comments
By Justin Schorr
There is always talk around the dinner table at the firehouse that the house was clearly not designed by anyone who had ever even seen a firehouse before.
"The locker room is too small!"
"This kitchen sucks."
"Can't we have a toilet on the ground floor?"
The usual complaints ...
In his book American Fire Station, Gerry Souder reminisces about the staple of Americana that is the firehouse. I have not read the book, but the Amazon link gives a good idea about what he is talking about.
“Some firehouses are beautiful, others are downright ugly and some make you laugh out loud. Once you study them and meet the Firefighters who work there, you can never pass one of these distinctive buildings without being affected.” Gerry Souder
He is right that each firehouse is changed by the men and women who work within it, making it their home. Notice I am not talking about fire stations, instead firehouses.
Each generation has added their own touches and features — from a grill on the patio to a custom dinner table — but some houses are ready to be elite. Perhaps your firehouse needs some of the improvements on this list, but good luck getting the chief to sign off on the elite level items!
MUST HAVE – Back porch
A secluded area outside allows for personal reflection, a nice meal on a mild afternoon, a private phone call, or perhaps a cigar after the promotions list comes out. This is a great place to put the grill, a few chairs and a table. The house can kick in and purchase it together, no need to try to explain to HQ why you need a patio set.
ELITE LEVEL - Humidor Cabinet
The guys are having an occasional cigar, but why have the engine parked infront of the smoke shop every weekend? With this cabinet, each member can purchase and store quality cigars — to enjoy 50 feet from the closest door, per policy. If your organization prohibits the use of tobacco products while on duty, install this in the basement, or maybe an outbuilding?
MUST HAVE – Heavy Duty Dishwasher
When the folks at Whirpool test their machines, I imagine they have a robot arm that opens and closes the door a million times to prove it is durable. What they should do is let a firefighter spend 10 minutes trying to overfill it and kick it closed. The dishwasher at a single company will probably run 1,000 times a year and see more than its share of toothpicks.
ELITE LEVEL - Commercial Dishwasher
At a busy triple company house, feeding and cleaning up after 14 people can be a chore. But if you use a commercial strength dishwasher, you can wash an entire load of dishes in 90 seconds. That is not a typo. 90 seconds. I worked at a big house that has one of these and it is awesome. Pile in the silverware, press on, wait a minute and a half and POW, clean forks.
You may have to run a few more cycles since there is only one tray, but the water heats up to 170 degrees and cleans those dishes like no one's business.
MUST HAVE - 3 Burner Bunn-o-Matic Coffee Maker
Forget those fancy fru-fru drinks for $3 a pop at the local coffee shop. Save those for heading home. That's your reward for staying safe and going home again. Until then, we need 3 piping hot supplies of delicious coffee. Some may tell you the four burner is the way to go — maybe if you're having a lot of meetings at your house — but if you're all career, three should do fine. And while you're at it, stop buying the crappy coffee at the warehouse store and spend the extra $2 a pound for some quality coffee from a local vendor. Chances are he'll be proud to brag that you buy his coffee to drink in your house. No gifts, buy the coffee.
ELITE LEVEL – Cappuccino Machine
If you absolutely, positively have to have some fru-fru during the day, invest in a nice machine, but make sure everyone understands how to use it and clean it. A house I worked at had a list of folks “passed up” on the machine and some of their coffee training records were better than their fire training records.
MUST HAVE – Plenty of apparatus floor space
Clear out the clutter, Chief, this isn't a storage area! So many firehouses get sent reserve apparatus that barely fit in the bay, or the stubborn captain won‘t park his prized pick up outside. Either way apt floor space seems to be disappearing rapidly. Do your part to keep it clutter free. No need to keep the box from the new coffee maker after all.
ELITE LEVEL - Truck Turntable
Too many folks are getting hurt and some have even died while the apparatus is backing up. Why? Why are we even "spotting" these things, only putting ourselves in danger to protect someone's investment? Let's install a truck turntable. Pull in, press the button and just like Batman did, we're turned around and ready for the next attack from the Riddler. I can hear some of you groaning about how elaborate, expensive, problem-prone this might be, but it can never fail. It simply becomes a floor if it stops rotating. Not sure how the tillers will do with this — we'll look into something. And for those of you singing the praises of drive through bays ... I don't want to hear your bragging anymore.